Mazda gets its message across loud and clear
The good news for the Japanese firm is that the Mazda 6 is an incredibly sleek and stylish car
The Mazda 6 is impressively nimble for its size
Fuel:Petrol and diesel
Date Reviewed:May 19, 2013
ROAD TEST: What is to be done with Mazda? It’s one of the most infuriating brands on the motoring planet. Well-regarded for quality engineering and an enviable sporting pedigree, it has earned a reputation as one of the best used-car buys on the market. And yet it languishes in the doldrums of the sales table, largely because it invariably fails to get its message across.
A car firm with the pedigree of Mazda should have more than a 2 per cent market share. It should not be more than 1,200 new car sales behind Hyundai in January alone.
It would not be such an issue if the new Mazda 6 wasn’t such a good car. Part of the problem is the silly marketing gibberish that Mazda has adopted to highlight its new technology advances. It has managed to cloak sound engineering ideas in a mist of marketing code. God forbid that the motoring public should ever find out that you’ve actually come up with some good ideas.
SkyActiv is the all-encompassing title of a host of engineering improvements designed to reduce vehicle weight and thereby cut down fuel consumption. The problem is that the term is nonsense and many of the technical improvements it encompasses are too niche for the general public. Improved compression ratios may set the eyes of engineers alight, but it’s not the sort of thing owners can drop into general conversation down the pub: not unless they want to clear the room.
The good news for the Japanese firm is that the Mazda 6 is an incredibly sleek and stylish car, the most eye-catching new model in its class. But there’s more to this car than looks alone. It’s comfortable, quick, nice to drive, well-equipped and will keep the penny-pinching fleet manager happy when it comes to fuel economy and motor tax.
Lighter and longer
While it manages to be lighter than its rivals, thanks in part to the use of high-tensile steel, it’s also noticeably longer than before. That means there’s ample room for family motoring and a very impressive boot, with 489 litres on offer even with the rear seats in use. Rear seat legroom is beaten by the Skoda Superb but that’s about the only rival that matches it.
The 6 is also impressively nimble for its size. There’s a decent weighting to the steering and good response to inputs. It’s right up there with the Ford Mondeo in terms of driving dynamics. Based on the same platform as the recently launched CX-5 crossover, it shares the same multi-link rear suspension set-up as the diminutive SUV, which makes for decent handling, particularly given its lower centre of gravity.